ANGRY holidaymakers have criticised a travel company’s ‘shocking’ customer service after being told one of their destination’s most popular rides would be closed during their stay.
Customers booking at Longleat Center Parcs in Wiltshire were told last month that the Wild Water Rapids ride would be shut for emergency maintenance for six weeks from September 11.
But hundreds of tourists were warned they would not be able to claim back a refund or move their holiday dates.
‘The customer service has been shocking’
Megan Cook, 25, has been visiting Longleat since she was a child and had booked for a long weekend with four of her family from September 29.
The group have forked out about £700 for their stay, but say they have been sent an automated email response by Center Parcs every time they tried to complain.
Megan, from Fareham, said: ‘The Rapids are the main attraction for most people - it’s an expensive holiday but the ride is part of the fun.
‘We understand the maintenance has to be done but they have not given us any respect with an automated response.
‘The customer service has been shocking. Some people didn’t get the email and found out about it another way.
‘We are going this time because they’ve got our money, but we’ll never go back again.’
‘When I told the children two of them started crying’
More than 300 people have joined a Facebook group to help raise awareness of the closure.
Among those is Lee Barron, who booked a three-night trip for his wife and three sons.
Lee, 43, said: ‘We’ve been to Center Parcs nine times before, and it’s because of the Rapids.
‘There was no mention of any closure when we booked. We didn’t even get an email and I found out about it on Trip Advisor.
‘Only a handful of families are affected. I don’t know why they couldn’t have helped them and it would have been okay.
‘When I told the children two of them started crying, and they want to go to another park.’
Stubbington resident Tara Smith booked to take her sister’s children to the resort as their mum was on honeymoon.
The group are still planning to go to the resort for three days from September 22, but have booked another trip for December so the children do not miss out on the ride.
Tara, 43, said: ‘My mum first read about it and told me, and then I went online and realised everything was kicking off.
‘We asked Center Parcs if we could just take them to another park but they wouldn’t let us.
‘It’s frustrating. Center Parcs has a lot of parks like this which also have water rides.’
Center Parcs spokeswoman Emily Beaumont said without the maintenance work the ride would have to close ‘indefinitely’.
She added: ‘We have reassured those coming for a break in that period that there will still be plenty to do in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, including new family water play areas and two new water rides, one of which is the largest AV-enabled family raft ride in Europe.
‘We also have more than 100 activities available outside of the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, giving families lots to enjoy whilst on a break this autumn.’